05/27/12 9:05 PM ET
Return date still uncertain for closer Santos
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Toronto's closer has been out since April 21 because of inflammation in the affected area. He was tentatively projected to miss three to four weeks, but more than a month later and there is still no timetable for his return.
Santos has yet to throw off a mound. Although the club is optimistic that will happen by the end of the week, it's far from guaranteed.
"I think every time we've given you a time frame it has ended up being a little bit longer," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "I'd like to think he can get to that distance by the mid to latter part of this coming week.
"He has been out to 120 feet on flat-ground long toss with some aggressiveness. The kind of the earmark, or the threshold, with the flat-ground work is when he gets out to 150 to 175 feet and he passes that with no issues then the mound is the next step."
Santos, who is on the 15-day disabled list, has two saves in four opportunities this season. He was acquired from the White Sox during the offseason for prospect Nestor Molina but has yet to find his groove in Toronto.
Santos, 28, will eventually need to throw at least four to five bullpen sessions before going on an extended rehab assignment. In many ways, it's like starting Spring Training all over again, and as a result, he will not be back with the big league club anytime soon.
"Where the soreness is generated when he starts to get more aggressive, he'll feel a little bit in that same area," Farrell said. "We're taking baby steps to get past that pinpoint of the spot where he has felt it in the back of his shoulder."
Blue Jays reinforce 'pen with Chavez, Beck
ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays' depleted bullpen received a much-needed boost on Sunday afternoon with the addition of Chad Beck and Jesse Chavez.
Both relievers were promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas after Toronto's relief corps were required to pitch 13 2/3 innings during the past two days against the Rangers.
Utility man Yan Gomes was optioned to Las Vegas while Japanese right-hander Ryota Igarashi was designated for assignment to make room on both the 25- and 40-man rosters.
"Given the number of innings and pitches thrown by our bullpen the last two days, we needed to get two fresh arms in here," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
"Francisco Cordero would be our closer today and Luis Perez is available, but every other regular reliever we have needs at least one, if not two, days off in some cases."
Chavez helped stop the bleeding in Sunday's 12-6 loss, picking up the slack after Kyle Drabek was knocked out after three innings. Chavez allowed three runs and struck out seven -- including five in a row at one point -- in five strong innings as the Blue Jays were able to save the rest of the bullpen.
Chavez was originally scheduled to start for the 51s on Sunday afternoon but instead took a late-night flight from Salt Lake City, where his team was playing a road series. The 28-year-old entered Sunday 6-10 with a 5.36 ERA in parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues.
The native of California started making a name for himself in the Blue Jays' organization during Spring Training. A strong performance in camp garnered a lot of attention and he was a finalist for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, which was eventually handed to top prospect Drew Hutchison in April.
Chavez started the year in Las Vegas, where he went 6-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 starts.
"Just being able to repeat my mechanics," Chavez said when pointing out the key to his success this season. "Years past, I've been changed a lot as far as mechanically. This year they just let me go out and pitch and probably because I was able to repeat my mechanics. That's the one thing you need in this game to be consistent at all."
Beck, 27, made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays last season. He was 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA while striking out 13 in 20 2/3 innings with Las Vegas this season.
Toronto's decision to option Gomes back to the Minor Leagues wasn't easy. Gomes had become a favorite of Farrell's and proved valuable with the ability to play first, third and catcher while also taking pregame work in left field.
Gomes hit .227 (5-for-22) with two home runs and five RBIs in eight games.
"It was difficult," Farrell said. "The two optionable players that recently joined us are both Yan and David [Cooper]. The fact is Cooper's left-handed bat gives us a little bit more balance. Yan was understanding of the situation, albeit disappointed but we were in a situation where we needed to make some roster moves to get fresh arms in here."
Johnson held out of lineup with sore hamstring
ARLINGTON -- Kelly Johnson was held out of the Blue Jays' lineup on Sunday afternoon against the Rangers with soreness in his left hamstring.
It was the second consecutive game that Johnson has missed with the injury and comes on the heels of receiving a cortisone injection on Friday night to help deal with the lingering pain.
"He needs another day," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He did receive a trigger-point injection to address the inflammation that's in that tendon behind the knee. So, he has soreness from the injection.
"The overall condition to the hamstring is roughly the same. In other words, he was able to play with it, he was managing the pain through some treatments, but we felt like it was getting to the point where the MRIs showed there was no structural issue but the inflammation was localized."
Johnson is listed as day to day, but Farrell said his second baseman would have preferred to play on Sunday. The club instead decided to take a cautious approach with the hope of getting rid of the inflammation so the discomfort does not linger for a long time.
The veteran is hitting .251 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in 44 games and has been a mainstay at the top of the order.
"He feels like he could play, but we kind of took that decision out of his hands to give it 24 more hours to allow the treatment to take hold a little bit more and not to set him back at all," Farrell said.